Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone

by AdvocAid
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Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone
Supporting 350 Female Detainees in Sierra Leone

Project Report | Sep 11, 2023
Providing legal assistance to young women, by AdvocAid's paralegal's and Duty Counsels

By Thabile Cele | Project Leader

AdvocAid's dedicated legal team continues to provide access to justice for women and girls in Sierra Leone who come into contact with the criminal justice system. This case study focuses on the arrest and detention of eight women during a peaceful demonstration in Makeni on 13th June 2023, casting a light on the crucial role that AdvocAid's Paralegals and Duty Counsels play in ensuring that women in difficult circumstances have access to justice. This report describes the effects of their intervention and emphasizes the violations of human rights and difficulties the women face.

Sierra Leone witnessed a peaceful protest on June 13, 2023, in relation to the June 24th Presidential and General Elections. During it, many juveniles, including eight females and two males, were apprehended and detained for investigation at a Police Station in Makeni. Among these young women, was a nursing mother who was arrested along with her infant, with no provision for parole.

Despite AdvocAid's paralegals' efforts to secure the women's release, their bail applications were denied. In addition, two women reported being physically assaulted by police, resulting in injuries. The Duty Counsel of AdvocAid intervened quickly to ensure they received the necessary medical care.

AdvocAid's paralegals assisted the young men and women in a variety of ways - including working together with the Ministry of Gender and Children's Affairs, the Ministry of Social Welfare, and the National Commission for Children, to engage the parents of the young people to bring documentation and prove their ages, resulting in their release. 

The case was presented before the Makeni Magistrate Court. The suspects were charged with unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, assault on police, and illegal possession. They were denied bail and remanded at the Makeni Female Correctional Centre.

Despite setbacks, the paralegals at AdvocAid persisted in their efforts. Our team provided legal education on the scheduled adjournment date when the Magistrate did not appear in court. This gave them optimism and assurance that their journey through the legal system was not yet complete.

When the case was revisited in court a month later, the young women and men pleaded guilty. The duty counsel then advocated for alternatives to incarceration. The magistrate granted their request and sentenced them to three months in detention or a Le 500 fine each (approx. $25 USD). The nursing mother was released from court, and each of the young men and women were able to pay the fine, resulting in their freedom.

Throughout this case, the paralegals at AdvocAid observed several human rights violations, such as the absence of access to bathing facilities and inadequate medical care during police custody. They also noted that the young people they supported, were dissatisfied with the treatment they received from police officers. It is the experiences and case loads like this one, that inform AdvocAid’s lobby and advocacy strategy, determining what we need to campaign to change so that we can drive long-term structural change

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Organization Information

AdvocAid

Location: Freetown, Western Region - Sierra Leone
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @advocaid
Project Leader:
Rebecca Wood
Freetown , Western Area Sierra Leone
$23,138 raised of $30,000 goal
 
374 donations
$6,862 to go
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